Growing up in America, a burger is an undeniable classic. When I’m craving something outside my typical diet, I tend to go with something I know well. Even though burgers are a common find at pretty much any restaurant, I wanted to see if I could make it myself at home. Here, I have written about my experience making burgers, and what the best cooking methods are based on experimentation.
Before getting started
Before even making the burger, there are decisions that need to be made:
- Choice of meat
- How many burgers you plan to make
- Size of each burger
I have written about the best burger tips on the internet, which may be helpful to read before getting started.
Choice of meat
There are a few cuts of beef that are highly recommended: short ribs, brisket, and ground chuck, to name a few. However, you don’t have to use just beef. I have sampled a few bison burgers over the years, and have come to prefer them over the average hamburger.
How many burgers
I recommend deciding the size and amount of burgers you’re making before buying your meat. That way you buy the right amount so there’s not too much left over, if any. When making burgers for just me and my husband, I usually make one for each of us to eat now and one to eat later.
The range I recommend for a burger is somewhere between a 1/4 lb. and a 1/2 lb (4 oz. – 8 oz.). Anything smaller will be too fragile and small, and anything larger has potential to burn on the outside before the inside can cook.
Cooking the burger
Now that you’ve decided on how many burgers you want to make and what size they are, it’s time to get them ready to cook.
Shaping the burger is an important step. There are a few things to keep in mind during this stage:
- When shaping the burger, less handling is better
- The flatter the patty, the faster it cooks inside
- To keep it from puffing up, put a dimple in middle
With that in mind, these are the steps I take when shaping my burgers:
- Lightly rinse the meat to get the excess blood off.
- Cut into pieces the size of each burger. A scale will help get each one equal.
- Gently mold each into a ball. Using wet hands is optional.
- Flatten them into patties. I use my fingers to press them into flattened rounds, working the meat as little as possible.
- Put a thumbprint in the middle. This is optional, but it works for me. It won’t be noticeable in the cooked burger.
Putting it on the heat
The burgers are ready to go. All that’s left is to put them on the heat and cook them to perfection. Here’s how I do it:
- Heat cast iron to 7 until steaming. Once ready to cook, add ~2 tsp. avocado oil to pan and swirl to evenly coat.
- Add burgers to skillet. Immediately and liberally top with salt and pepper. Let cook ~3 min until underside is brown, then flip. You can also add more salt and pepper to this side.
- Keep cooking until desired inside is reached. (I judge by the color of the juices coming out, but using a thermometer is the most recommended method. This takes some practice and depends on how pink you want the inside.)
- Let rest on a plate for 5-10 minutes so the juices can settle into the burger.
Serving the burger
Now that the patties are done, all that’s left is to get everything else together. Here’s what I do:
Toasting the bun
Although it may seem like a trivial step, toasting the inside of the bun is important. If you don’t, there is a high potential that your bun will become soggy. The heat and moisture from the burger will seep into the bottom, resulting in an unpleasant eating experience. Toasting the bun, however, provides a layer of protection against that.
That being said, there are a couple ways to toast your bun. One option is the toaster or toaster oven. Set it on toast, and let the insides of the bun get crispy and golden without getting burned. The other way (which is my preferred method), is to put the bun halves face down on the skillet or grill that you just cooked the burger on. That way, you pick up a little bit of the burger grease, and you don’t have to use another appliance.
Toppings are a matter of preference, and are almost unlimited. Here, I’ll list some of my favorites, although the list is nowhere near exhaustive:
- Sauces—ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, mayo, etc.
- Onions—sautéed, caramelized, crispy, or raw
So, that’s how I make my burgers at home! I prefer bison meat, I think it has a richer flavor. However, cooking beef hamburgers are done in the same manner. If you haven’t read my post on the best burger tips on the internet, it may clarify some things I wrote.
What is your favorite meat for a burger? What toppings do you use? Let me know in the comments!